Tracfone. Meh.

Actually that is being way too nice...
I allowed myself to think for a while that this corporation might be kind of, sort of OK to use.
(This was after years & years of being quite certain that they are just a gang of thieves like the rest.)
I have now been shown the errors in my thinking very, very clearly.

We had gotten some of those great $1 SIM packs while they were around with the minutes, etc. & had gotten the AT&T based services for a couple of phones that we hardly use.

Sadly, AT&T finally got around to killing off the last of the 2G in Vermont a couple of months ago & the older phone became a paperweight with a nice alarm clock function.

No biggie - I found a cheapo GSM phone to replace it & figured that was that.
Nope - I was totally wrong again.

I will not bore anyone with the lengthy struggle's details;
What I will tell is that after all that time & effort what we now have is just another useless paperweight as it is right this minute.

It is finally activated to the number the other phone used & has months of time left to it - but they killed off ALL our minutes, data & SMS which had all been up around 900 each.

In my lexicon that is called robbery - or if you prefer - outright theft.
In theirs it is called 'an inconvenience'.

Evil. Corruption. Gang rule. Corporations. I regard all those as synonyms.

I won't even get into the 'when 3G ain't 3G' thing - that was a whole 'nother adventure in GSM land.

So, if I can somehow dig up an older, compatible GSM phone to do BYOP with them, I may grab that, but other than that I am really disgusted with tf and will NOT forget this in the future.

Best Wishes to All.

Tracfone always came across to me as far too complicated for what it should be. Too many hoops to jump and reliance on customer service to get things right and be on your side. I used them a long time ago for a flip phone and I think their systems are still pretty much the same as 10 years ago.

I'm starting to really appreciate mvnos that keep things straightforward but still packed with features e.g. tello and twigby. A couple of bucks saving here and there is not worth it.

Greetings Mmfacemm & thanks for replying here.

Looks to me as if you are 100% correct with the possible difference that they may do more outsourcing of their 'staff' now than they did then.

All we wanted was some GSM coverage for places & times that our Twigby phones find too little signal - and no other AT&T using service comes close to being as cheap for as little as we need it.

Years ago my partner used them for her only phone & even with 3x minutes she was paying alot more than she should have been for their services.

Shame of it is that I should have snarfed up another 'Big Easy' when those were just $20 with a year & 800 of everything included - but at the time I didn't know where I'd get that extra $20 from !!
(Yep, hindsight is always 20/20...)

Aside of all that - we really enjoy our Twigby services & that may be the best provider ever for us.

Thanks, and Best Wishes.

h20 wireless has a pay as you go plan that is probably similar to tracfone pricing

Thanks again !!

Had H2O payg a while back...quit them when my balance suddenly just...vanished.

Then tried consumer cellular, which made several billing errors - credited us with a $54 overage due to referals, allowed that to cover our bill for a time, then re-billed us for our usual monthly PLUS the $54 that they decided we didn't deserve. (Sort of makes one think of...ting !!)
When we called to question this hogwash - they kept us on the phone 'till closing time.
After they threatened us with disconnection we gave in and paid the bloated bill.
Then they ended the call, & STILL nuked our account & both our numbers with no say-so from us or anything.

So we switched to CDMA & RP until it died - but still needed some GSM coverage sometimes - and here we are.

My old H2O SIM is actually still here, but I'm in no hurry to use them again.

I really like what Truphone offers, but I don't like their $29.99 start-up cost; if I could find a way to get into that for less up-front cost I'd use them for GSM.


Bore us with the details of exactly what transpired and you most likely will get your units back.
You transferred your service from what device to what device? Were you using a feature phone and transferring to a Smartphone?
Did you do this through the website, phone or chat?

Truphone are great. You at least get $15 credit with that cost. I have a sim and it is a keeper. Their customer service has been decent when needed.

There is no expiry of the credit so no min monthly/ yearly cost

Greetings to you The_Uncomfortable_Truth !!
You are inviting me to bore you - wow - amazing indeed.

The tf adventure started with the suggested method from the RP forum to get the 'Big Easy', activate, then just move its SIM to an unlocked phone after using their chat to transfer all of it - which worked fine.
The final SIM move was into an old feature phone that was 100% fine for most of a year - until AT&T nuked 2G around here...

Bought a cheapie tracfone - sort of a brain-dead almost-Android thing.
Remembered from earlier so used chat to make the transfer & they said it was all good - but that it needed a different SIM, which they finally sent a week later.

After that, used chat to transfer & was told it would complete after a while of waiting, but it never activated after most of 3 days - so used chat to try & fix this - twice, without success.
(They also took away 2/3 of its allotments...gee, sorry about that...right.)
That 2nd session ended with being told to wait an hour for it to update - but it never did.
The 6+ months time now shows, but it has zero minutes.

Went back into chat - and got told they would not help us & to call.

Now, after too many hours devoted to this effort, I am inclined to try dumping in a 60 minute x 3 refill card just to see if it will work - and maybe call it a day...until I can locate a real, cheap, used 3G/GSM phone suitable for my partner's rather simple needs.

If there is some trick to getting our ~900 minutes back - please do tell ?!?


Thanks again Mmfacemm.
Problem is - we've no phone to put said SIM into right now - so the 29.99 + whatever getting another used phone will cost is more than our budget can handle for a while...

Some of this I m not following because you can not transfer a TF feature phone SIM directly over to a TF branded Smartphone or a BYOP Smartphone/feature phone or vice versa, so I take it you are leaving some transfer steps out.

Nevertheless, you seemed to have followed the correct steps and unfortunately those steps got you to where you have a device with days of service, but the units were never transferred over properly and you fell into the all to common problem with TF transfers.

The one step that you did not take, or I assume you did not take, and it is not something a TF customer should really have to do, was to document the current units/days currently on the device.

Always have the chat agent document what your current days and units are and that they match what you know to be correct before proceeding with any transfer.

You should also never end the chat without your device working and all your units restored, never accept the wait 24hrs baloney! If they are unwilling to complete the transfer, ask to be transferred to their chat supervisor.

If they ultimately give you no alternative, ask for a support ticket number and then at the top of the chat box enter in your e-mail address and make sure to e-mail the chat session to yourself. Click to send several times, but even more important, copy and paste the conversation over to your pc because many times the e-mail does not arrive and there is your documentation with a transcript number.

At this point I would get back on chat one last time and explain they did not restore your 900 units to the device on last transfer and you want them restored, ask to speak to a supervisor. If they are unresponsive tell them that you will be filing a complaint with the FCC and the BBB.

Do not hesitate to file an FCC complaint and a complaint with your local BBB, you will definitely hear from TF corporate resolutions and most likely will get your units restored.

It takes all but 10 minutes to file a FCC complaint:

I would not add any airtime until they restore your units, unless you can not do without the phone.

Sounds a wee bit complicated

Not really., most transfers can be pretty painless if you follow a simple procedure. How many transfers do you really need to do a year anyway?

Before you even think about doing a transfer you need a new SIM in hand if you are going from:

  1. TF Branded GSM Feature phone to a TF Branded GSM Feature phone, call TF and they will send one out free of charge.

  2. TF Branded Feature Phone to a BYOP SIM, purchase a Kit. ($1 at Best Buy and Family Dollar)

  3. GSM BYOP to GSM BYOP or CDMA to GSM, purchase a Kit. ($1 at Best Buy and Family Dollar).

Have the SIM card and IMEI #'s handy for the new device to give to the chat agent.

( All the above would be consistent with most service providers)

Contact chat ( Choose technical support)

Ask the chat agent to verify and state your current units and days of service and verify that matches what you have on record. (Easy enough)

Ask the chat agent to initiate a transfer from your current device to your new device. (Easy enough)

Let them follow through with your transfer. (Easy enough)

With a feature phone to feature phone you will most likely have to enter in a boat load of codes and that is just the way it is and always has been with TF. (Get out your readers)

With a Smartphone or BYOP SIM you just need to follow any instructions they give you, which will most likely be turn off your phone and reboot and make a call/text and test data. (Easy enough)

When you reboot make sure you can make a call and that the days and units you documented above are showing on your phone or on your account page and in all buckets, Do Not Leave The Chat Until You Can. (Don't give in and ask for a supervisor) ( e-mail the chat and copy and paste to your comp to CYA)


You can also do this on line through your account, but before you do contact chat and ask the chat agent to verify and state your current units and days of service and verify that matches what you have on record. E-mail that and also cut and paste that to your computer, but............... since you are on chat just follow through with the transfer.

I have done 4+ transfers in the last several months that took about 10-15 min with everything working and all buckets full. I only had one hiccup and with the documentation they could not dispute my claim on the days and units due me and that took about 15 mi to resolve.

It is certain that I did not follow that set of steps perfectly & I thank you for posting them so clearly.

Now what I really need to dig up is a very basic phone that'll do tf BYOP & I'll just start again after taking my licks on all that rather than fighting with them after a week has passed.
(Sadly, cheap/used TF compatible GSM phones are neither plentiful, nor easy to find around here.)

My main learning from the rp adventure also applies here as well...
Central to it was the time wastage from all of it; 2nd to that was the selling aspect - meaning:
To be FAR more skeptical when presented with ANY sales pitch as they are usually overblown as well as lacking in accuracy.

Sure, I enjoyed some of the forum stuff when we used rp, but when taken as a whole the time that the problems used up did not balance against the amount the service allowed us to use for other things.

The good of it for us was that it came at a time when we had suffered some serious financial hardships & really had to scrape HARD just in efforts to get by for a while; but now that our monthly cellular is via Twigby we are able to manage that with just minimal scraping, thank goodness !!

After rp died we even tried ting - and got to see yet another openly evil provider - and sitting here beside me (powered off...) is a phone on Cellnuvo which I actually power up & poke at every now & then.

Bottom line for us is that we now have just enough for most of our 2 phone needs covered for under $30/month & will keep some tf services going via a few extra cards for a while - but only until they rip us off completely to the point where it becomes pay vs. go without - then it'll be all over with that provider as well.

Best Wishes to All !!

You'll get a bunch more cellnuvo referral points next month. I had a break but started swiping again.

Hello The_Uncomfortable_Truth & All here.
I am finally cooled off enough to face this again after way too much time spent & another hour wasted on it today. Of course the net gain from that is simply being infuriated AGAIN !!

Why, perhaps you may ask ??
After wasting an hour on the phone with them - having followed the info quoted below - I was ASSURED that our 948 minutes, etc. would appear in the phone shortly.
Played the game - nothing has appeared 5+ hours later - and now tf has our number flagged so that when I try to call back as instructed by them - it tells me a transaction is in progress, goodbye !!

I've tried calling back every hour - same

So now I'm on chat demanding a supervisor - and waiting endlessly for it.
The mythical supervisor never appeared on chat, but a number & a PIN were given to call & I called that & DEMANDED a supervisor - waited 5 minutes & a guy came on saying he is a supervisor.
4 codes entered - and whammo - the mysterious 948 minutes just popped right up on the phone.
Twice amazing.

Now as long as they don't steal those back somehow I guess this part is done, finally.
Not a perfect solution as it is an in-between phone - but it'll do for now.

Thanks very much for the generous help & guidance !!

My experience was a bit different;
Following your detailed instructions (Extraterrestrial_Zoologist) I was able to activate 2 tracfones @ $20 each with one year 800 minutes
One tracfone was transferred to another phone for a user who is hard of hearing. We left our area and have been on roaming with this phone for a couple of months now. The second phone died as we were going on assignment. Once I arrived I contacted tracfone and was sent a replacement, suitable for my area of verizon only service ; and all my minutes and days carried over.
Yes it took a couple of hours with customer service to figure it out, but your suggestion of calling exec help, 1-800-876-5753 or 1-800-339-9345. certainly expedited the process.
Thanks, and though tracfone may be a PITA. In our circumstances, it is a blessing to have.